Jerusalem—In a world of active senior citizens, where crafts workshops, group activities and 50-percent discounts are common, Israel initially seems to stand out in its treatment of retirees. With a well-known stereotype of pensioners sitting outside of cafes, smoking and complaining about nearly everything under the sun, it’s sometimes difficult to imagine seniors living an interesting and enjoyable lifestyle in Israel, especially for those considering making aliyah after retiring.
Perhaps in response to this conception, the Israeli government has been working in recent years to improve pensioners’ lifestyles. Their work yielded fruit last summer as the Ministry for Senior Citizens, in cooperation with Style, a large advertising firm, in the form of a new national senior citizen discount service, dubbed Shlishi B’Shleyks, literally translating to Tuesdays in Suspenders. One of Israel’s best-kept secrets, this program set out to save seniors money in the middle of the week. However, the project’s founders claim that the result has been something much bigger:
“The purpose of the project is to encourage Israeli senior citizens to leave home for cultural, consumer and recreational activities, and to enjoy benefits of different shops around the country.”
Shlishi B’Shleyks not only works to encourage senior discounts in Israel—it effectively tries to kill the stereotype of bored, grumpy Israeli seniors by encouraging them to get out and partake in different cultural and recreational activities, ensuring that even the older generations of Israelis get to enjoy the beauty and fun of the Holy Land.
To this end, they’ve partnered with different attractions and companies to offer special senior-only experiences throughout the country. Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum, offers free guided tours to Israel’s Senior Citizens, including walkthroughs of the museum, onsite exhibits and beautiful grounds, lectures from historians and a discounted lunch at the Kosher cafeteria (must be arranged in advance with the museum). Yehuda Triki Tours offers a special senior day trip to Geder Hot Springs in the Golan Heights, including a short hike, ample time to soak in the mineral springs, and a complimentary lunch at the nearby “Mahbat” restaurant, for 143 NIS, approx. $35 (available only on Tuesdays, excluding holidays). Pelephone, one of Israel’s biggest mobile-phone networks, provides free lessons every Tuesday for seniors on using smartphones and tablets, offered at many of their locations throughout Israel (prior registration required).
In addition to these unique senior experiences, Shlishi B’Shleyks has arranged attractive discounts at many major Israeli franchises throughout the country. Movie theater chains Rav Hen, Global Max, Kohav and Cinema City (Jerusalem location only), offer significant discounts on tickets to pensioners, with admission as low as 45 NIS (approx $11) for Tuesday matinee showings. In Jerusalem, the Begin Center, Islam, Hechal Shlomo, David’s Tower, Herzl and Bible Land Museums all offer 10 NIS tickets to senior citizens on Tuesday, and many also offer special guided-tour options. Ma’ariv, one of Israel’s biggest newspapers, offers discounted subscriptions for their weekend edition (Ma’ariv Sofshavua) if ordered by a senior on a Tuesday. Hamashbir, SuperPharm, FOX and Tzomet Sefarim, some of the biggest Israeli chain stores, offer different periodic specials to retirees as well. And last, but definitely not least, are Tuesday specials at Aroma, Mike’s Place and WaffleBar, with the latter offering 30 percent off the entire menu to seniors on Shlishi B’Shleyks.
Wednesdays may be Sundaes at Carvel, but in Israel, Tuesdays are truly fun days for seniors. While suspenders are of course optional for Shlishi B’Shleyks, anyone wanting to take advantage of these offers must be an Israeli citizen with an Ezrah Vatik (Senior Citizen) ID card. We invite all of our Israeli senior readers to take advantage of this program and get the most from their lives in Israel with these special deals.
For more information on Shlishi B’Shleyks, please visit http://www.shlaykes.co.il/ (Hebrew), or contact the dedicated Tuesday helpdesk of Israel’s Ministry for Senior Citizens at *8440 from any phone in Israel.
By Tzvi Silver, JLNJ Israel Correspondent